A catchphrase that is earning accreditation and applause across the globe is “business coach; however, people infer different services and skills when they hear those words. So, what is a business coach? A quick Google search shows there are myriad options and companies who believe they know the answer. Actually, the phrase means a little different to everyone. Pondering the words ‘business’ and ‘coach’ should take us right back to the basics, starting with the fundamentals of how to play the game.
I used to coach volleyball during my college days, and as I think about it, there are a surprising number of similarities. The focus of coaching is the team and the players, working together to win a game. To achieve this goal, the coach must understand each player on the team, including their level of ability and potential. Along with the fundamentals, the coach designs a strategy for the team to win. Then the coach must work with the players and the team to work on weaknesses and build up strengths in order to have the strongest opportunity to win the game.
Reading above paragraph, it sounds like the coach does all the work!
When coaching college teams, there is a lot that the coach must take charge of and manage. However, this is where the differences start to appear between sports and business. The first thing to realize is someone seeking out a business coach recognizes there are areas of improvement for themselves or their team. It is tough for people to admit they need help and accept help when it is offered. Therefore, the coach must recognize the vulnerability exposed when a professional seeks out advice, especially those in executive positions. These top leaders reached their position usually because of their talent, ability and education so it is appropriate to maintain their level of personal confidence. All coaches are there to be supportive and encouraging, but business coaches must be helpful yet honest.
The goal of a sports coach is clear: to help guide the team to win the game. But business coaching begs the question: What kinds of goals can he or she help achieve? This is a tough question to answer because in business it is situational – not a one-size-fits-all sort of undertaking. Leadership is constantly evolving, responding to the fluidity of profit, loss and cultural currents. What it takes to win the game of business in one situation may be dealing with conflict or establishing trust within a team. In another, the entire team may need guidance on how to move through a problem together. Business coaching can be a group exercise.
Just as in sports, though, there can never be too much emphasis on the fundamentals. All coaching is all about encouraging, supporting and guiding people to reach their full potential. If someone is willing and ready to improve for the team for the accomplishment of business goals, a coach can certainly help by developing a person’s communication and leadership skills. There is one major difference between sports and business coaches, though. Business coaches usually don’t make people run laps.
Benefits of Business Coaching
Some of the benefits that coaching brings to business firms are:
1. Training in strategic issues – With the help of coaching, business houses get trained in many strategic issues such as Change Management, Business Process Re-engineering (BPR), Succession Planning, strategy formulation and implementation, etc.
2. Increased productivity and quality of workProductivity and work quality are directly linked with team relationships. These coaches work on individuals and try to foster healthy work relationships. Such improved relations result in increased levels of productivity and quality of work.
3. Better work-life balance – An organization can grow only when there is a balance between business goals and personal goals. This coaching aims at realizing both these goals and thus results in better work-life balance for employees.Satisfied employees bring more efficiency to their work, which in turn helps the organization in effectively achieving its desired results.
Misconceptions about Business Coaching
Misconception #1: Business needs coaching only when it goes through troubling waters
Truth: This type of coaching is not just about problem-solving. A well to do business may also require coaching in order to identify new opportunities, to upgrade its business practices and so on. It basically aims at identifying and unleashing the hidden potentials of organizations so that they can not only achieve their expected goals, but surpass them.
Misconception #2: Business coach has answers to all of your questions
Truth: Coaches are not there to answer your queries, but to help you find answers. They bring forth such issues which you would have never thought about and then help you in finding out their solutions.
They do not spoon-feed the remedies, but train you to dig out crucial questions and discover pertinent answers.
Misconception #3: It is an expensive affair and only affluent businesses can afford it
Truth: It may be true for some coaching services, but this notion cannot be generalized for all. There are many business coaches in the market who provide quality services at affordable rates. Many coaches are concerned more about their own development and growth and thus offer superior coaching at modest fees.
Misconception #4: A good business coach is one who has similar personality traits as yours
Truth: It is not proven anywhere that a coach with your type of personality will yield results. Coaching is not about personality matching, but about growth and improvement.
All you need to look for in a coach is – his/her understanding of your business; his/her experience as a coach; and his/her goodwill in the market.